Synergy Grant

CAPA will lead the ERC-Synergy project «DarkQuantum» funded with almost €13M to develop quantum sensors and apply them to the detection of Dark Matter

The researcher Igor García Irastorza, professor of Atomic, Molecular and Nuclear Physics and new director of the Center for Astroparticles and High Energy Physics (CAPA) of the University of Zaragoza, coordinates the DarkQuantum project, which has just won a prestigious «Synergy Grant» from the European Research Council (ERC), endowed with almost 13 million euros of which 4 were assigned to the Zaragoza node.

The aim of the project is the development of new quantum sensors of unprecedented sensitivity and their application in experiments to search for axions, hypothetical particles that could make up Dark Matter. The project is based on the Aragonese researcher’s extensive experience in this type of experiments, exploiting recent innovations in the field of quantum technologies. It includes, in addition to Irastorza, three other international experts in different aspects of quantum technologies, namely Takis Kontos of the École Normale Supérieure de Paris, Sorin Paraoanu of Aalto University in Finland, and Wolfgang Wernsdorfer of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

UNIZAR Press Release (in Spanish).

The press conference (in Spanish) is available on the YouTube channel of the University of Zaragoza

Press releases from  the Finnish, French and German nodes  of the project.

CAPA lidera el proyecto ERC-Synergy “DarkQuantum” financiado con casi 13M€ para desarrollar sensores cuánticos y aplicarlos a la detección de la Materia Oscura

El investigador Igor García Irastorza, catedrático de Física Atómica, Molecular y Nuclear y nuevo director del Centro de Astropartículas y Física de Altas Energías (CAPA) de la Universidad de Zaragoza, coordina el proyecto DarkQuantum, que acaba de conseguir una prestigiosa “Synergy Grant” del Consejo Europeo de Investigación (European Research Council, ERC), dotada con casi 13 millones de euros, de los cuales 4 asignados al nodo de Zaragoza.

El objetivo del proyecto es el desarrollo de nuevos sensores cuánticos de sensibilidad sin precedentes y su aplicación en experimentos de búsqueda de axiones, partículas hipotéticas que podrían componer la Materia Oscura. El proyecto se apoya en la extensa trayectoria del investigador aragonés en este tipo de experimentos, explotando innovaciones recientes del campo de las tecnologías cuánticas. Incluye, además de Irastorza, otros tres expertos internacionales en distintos aspectos de las tecnologías cuánticas, a saber, Takis Kontos de la École Normale Supérieure de Paris, Sorin Paraoanu de la Universidad Aalto en Finlandia, y Wolfgang Wernsdorfer del Instituto Tecnológico de Karlsruhe, Alemania.

Nota de prensa UNIZAR.

La rueda de prensa está disponible en el canal de YouTube de la Universidad de Zaragoza

Notas de prensa de los nodos finlandés, francés y alemán del proyecto


Hands on Dark Matter 2023

Llega una nueva edición de la actividad «Hands on Dark Matter».  Estudiantes de bachillerato disfrutarán de una mañana de inmersión en la investigación en física de partículas, radioactividad, astrofísica y materia oscura.

Este año nos visitan los siguientes centros:  IES Clara Campoamor,  C.P. Enrique de Ossó, IES Rodanas, CPES La Salle Santo Ángel, IES Río Gállego, Colegio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, IES La Azucarera, IES Miguel Servet, IES Valdespartera, Centro San Valero y Colegio San Gabriel.  


  • 10:00  Acto de bienvenida:   Sala de Grados del edificio de Física de la Facultad de Ciencias   ­­
    • Charla sobre la Materia Oscura
    • Conexión con el Laboratorio Subterráneo de Canfranc y el Centro de Física del Cosmos de Aragón
  • 11:15  Actividad en el laboratorio (mitad del grupo)
    • Observación de rayos cósmicos
    • Radiación de fondo y espectros
  • 11:15  Actividad en aula (mitad del grupo).
    • Pistas de la Materia Oscura
    • La materia del Universo
  • 12:00  Intercambio de grupos
  • 12:45  Dark Matter Quiz
  • 13:15  Acto de despedida


Fotos de la actividad.

Nuevo equipo de dirección en el CAPA

El catedrático del área de Física Atómica Molecular y Nuclear, Igor García Irastorza, ha sido elegido nuevo Director del CAPA con fecha de 11 de octubre de 2023.

El nuevo equipo de dirección lo completan la catedrática del área de Física Atómica Molecular y Nuclear, Gloria Luzón Marco, como subdirectora, y el Profesor Titular de Universidad del Área de Física Teórica, Eduardo Follana Adín, como secretario.

Charla de M. Pérez Torres

 SKA: the mother of all radio telescopes


Miguel Á. Pérez Torres is a  research scientist at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC, Granada, Spain) and collaborator of the DFTUZ

 Abstract : The Square Kilometre Array (SKtA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope. The SKA is expected to conduct transformational science to improve our undersanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it many times faster than any current facility. The SKA  will not be a single telescope, but a collection of telescopes spread over long distances in the Southern Hemisphere. In this talk, I will give an overview of the SKA project and its science goals, which range from the cradle of life in exoplanets up to shedding light on the Epoch of Reionization and the Dark Ages of the Universe.

Jueves 19 de octubre , 12 horas, seminario de Física Nuclear


Charla de Jordi Miralda

QCD axions as dark matter and their potential detection by gravitational microlensing

Jordi Miralda Escudé es ICREA Professor of Astrophysics Institut de Ciències del Cosmos

Abstract:The most distant single stars we have observed are in cases of extreme gravitational lensing magnification, when the source star crosses a lensing caustic of a cluster of galaxies that is affected by microlensing. This has enabled detections of stars at redshifts above unity with HST, and now with JWST to even fainter levels. If dark matter is smoothly distributed, microlensing should be caused only by intracluster stars, with rates and lightcurves of caustic crossings that have precise statistical predictions. Deviations from the shapes and other characteristics of these lightcurves are then a powerful probe to small-scale granularity in the dark matter, which is unavailable through other astronomical observations. In particular, if the QCD axion is present in the dark matter, minihalos predicted to have formed around the epoch of equalization can affect the lightcurves of stars that are supermagnified when crossing microlensing caustics.

Viernes 29 de septiembre, 12 horas, seminario de Física Nuclear . Online

TAE 2023 – International Workshop on High Energy Physics

The TAE (Taller de Altas Energias) – Workshop on High Energy Physics is an international workshop aimed at completing the education of first and second year graduated students who are starting their research on experimental or theoretical High Energy Physics, Astroparticles and Cosmology.

The Workshop will take place at Centro de Ciencias de Benasque Pedro Pascual from Sep 03 — Sep 16.

G. Luzón (CAPA, Universidad de Zaragoza)
M. Cepeda (CIEMAT, Madrid)
O. Pujolas (IFAE, Barcelona)
J. Santiago (Universidad de Granada)

List of topics

– Statistical Methods, Glen Cowan (Royal Holloway, London, UK)
– QFT and Effective Field Theories, Clara Peset (IPARCOS, U. Complutense, Madrid, Spain)
– Standard Model, Adrian Carmona (U. Granada, Spain)
– Neutrino physics (theory), Mariam Tórtola (IFIC, Valencia, Spain)
– Neutrino physics (experiment), Clara Cuesta (CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain)
– Astroparticle physics, Pasquale Serpico (LAPTH, Annecy, France)
– Cosmology, Jacobo Asorey (IPARCOS, U. Complutense, Madrid, Spain)
– Beyond the Standard Model, J Serra (IFT, Madrid, Spain)
– LHC physics, Aurelio Juste (IFAE, Barcelona, Spain)
– Flavour / LHCb , Jeremy Peter Dalseno (IGFAE, Santiago de Compostela U)
– Dark Matter, María Martínez (CAPA, U. Zaragoza, Spain)
– Gravitational waves, Alicia Sintes (U. Illes Balears, Spain)
– Future detectors, Ivan Vila (IFCA, CSIC, Santander, Spain)
– Quantum technologies, Gemma Rius (CNM, Barcelona, Spain)
– Machine Learning, Stefano Carrazza (CERN, Switzerland)
– Lattice, Feliciano de Soto (Univ. Pablo Olavide, Sevilla, Spain)
– Axions, Maurizio Gianotti (CAPA, U. Zaragoza, Spain)
– Strings theory phenomenology, Irene Valenzuela (CERN & IFT Madrid)
– Cosmic strings and topological defects in cosmology, Jose Juan Blanco Pillado (UPV/EHU)
– Outreach workshop.

The registration is now open.

Charla de Farida Fassi «Searches for New Physics at the LHC using challenging signatures with the ATLAS detector»

Lecturer:  Farida Fassi, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Faculty of Sciences. Morocco

Abstract: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the largest and most complex machine ever built will extend the frontiers of particle physics with its unprecedented high energy and luminosity. The ATLAS experiment is the largest particle detector at LHC, targets to detect the tiny subatomic particles and study the fundamental constituents of matter to better understand the rules behind their interactions. The ATLAS experiment at the LHC has a broad search program covering a wide variety of models of physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). Various BSM theories predict unique signatures that are difficult to reconstruct and for which estimating the background rate is also a challenge. With the large amount of data gathered by the Run-2 of the LHC, the production of four top quarks (𝒕𝒕 𝒕𝒕 ) has become a very interesting probe of the Standard Model (SM) and beyond. In the SM of particle physics, 𝒕𝒕 𝒕𝒕 production is an extremely rare process with a cross section of approximately 12 fb. In extensions of the SM with top-philic new states, the four-top production rate can be enhanced considerably. Highlights from recent new physics searches with the ATLAS detector at the CERN LHC will be presented. They include searches for the SM 𝒕𝒕 𝒕𝒕 and BSM 𝒕𝒕 𝒕𝒕 , among others. Results are based on analysis of proton-proton collision data recorded at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV.

Viernes  28 abril, 10:30 horas, Seminario de Física Nuclear

Charla Pr. Farida Fassi ATLAS

«Global Scientific Cooperation builds bridges between Nations» by Farida Fassi

Lecturer:  Farida Fassi, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Faculty of Sciences. Morocco

Abstract: The last few decades have witnessed the creation of Big Data that has revolutionised the knowledge outcomes within and beyond multi-disciplinary science, enabling novel highly efficient ways to plan, conduct, disseminate and assess research. Global research projects demonstrate what humankind is able to achieve the most challenging goals when collaborating together coherently towards a common target. Science and the scientific knowledge transfer dissemination facilitate the dialogue among cultures and are the key instrument in fostering peaceful relations between nations. The Muslim world has the ability to use science for the benefit of its people. Therefore, it is vital for the contemporary Muslim world to strengthen its commitment to the modern and global scientific projects, contributing to long-term sustainable training through committed investments in research and development. International associations are a great common denominator in the culture of scientific activities. Particle physics field looks at the most fundamental structure of the universe – the particles that are its most basic building blocks, and the ways they interact with each other. The field has always been an early adopter of new technologies, applying them in the state-of-the-art discovery machines and experiments that produce floods of Big Data that can be analysed anytime and anywhere using shared and interlinked of heterogeneous research data via large digital research infrastructures. The talk will address the role of such global research projects in science, including Big Science era, to carrying the light of learning through global collaboration, in particular at CERN, producing the best scientists and innovators the world has ever seen. What can be achieved from such global science endeavours? The talk will describe the fascinating mixture of science bridging cultures and nations.

Jueves 27 abril, 12:10 horas, Seminario de Física Nuclear



Charla Antoine Kouchner «High Energy Neutrino Astronomy from the Deep Sea»

Antoine Kouchner ,  Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie (APC) Paris, is the ANTARES experiment spokesperson

Abstract: Messengers of the infinitely small, neutrinos provide us with valuable insights into the fundamental laws of physics. Messengers of the infinitely large, traveling on cosmological distances, they are privileged probes of cataclysmic astrophysical phenomena.

Neutrino Telescopes, buried deep in the sea/lake/ice are trying to meet this double challenge. These detectors consist of a 3D matrix of photomultipliers that detect the Cherenkov light inferred by the displacement of charged particles produced when neutrinos interact inside or around the detector.

After a brief historical introduction, I will review the latest results from the first generation deep-sea neutrino telescope ANTARES and the expectations and status of the next generation detector KM3NeT, both immersed in the Mediterranean Sea. In this context, synergies with Earth and Sea sciences will be mentioned.

Some emphasis will be placed on the potential of neutrino telescopes for the determination of the neutrino mass ordering through oscillation studies of atmospheric neutrinos in the GeV range (KM3NeT/ORCA) in the Mediterranean Sea.

Miércoles 26 abril, 12:10 horas, Seminario de Física Nuclear


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